KARACHI: Edward Hertzman, Director of business development at Synergies Worldwide, a global apparel sourcing company, said that doing business in Pakistan costs 25% less than doing business in China and about 15% cheaper than other countries.
Addressing the ‘Multilateral Investment and Trade Conference, 2011’ here on Thursday, he said that “Although strikes and instability affect production, Pakistan offers the lowest cost alternative in the region”.
Newly appointed Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Yaseen Anwar said Pakistan had made great progress in the past three years in increasing foreign exchange reserves and remittances while reducing the current account deficit.
He said there was huge investment potential in small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) and housing and agriculture sectors. Terming them “engines of growth,” Anwar said Pakistan needed to develop its capital market to promote investment in the three sectors.
He further said that a Pakistani cow produced 1,000 litres of milk a year on average. “However, the average yearly milk production of a cow in the United States is 10,000 litres.” He said Pakistan should also use modern ways to enhance milk production.
Anwar said Pakistan topped the microfinance regulatory framework ranking by The Economist. He said the State Bank had taken measures to promote branchless banking in Pakistan to help those people who couldn’t afford conventional banking.
Multinational companies (MNCs) operating in the country had never faced any problem in repatriating their profits, he said, adding that even during the bad financial period in the late 1990s, MNCs had easily repatriated their profits.
Nestle Pakistan Managing Director James Donald said that the company had consistently doubled its turnover every three years during the two decades of its operations in Pakistan. He said he was “bowled over” by the work ethic of Pakistanis. “I’ve been with Nestle for 40 years. But nowhere have I witnessed such a strong work ethic.”
Donald said Nestle operated the world’s largest milk factory in Pakistan, whose performance standards were used as global benchmarks. He said the share of packaged milk in Pakistan’s milk industry was only 10 to 15%.
“The sale of packaged goods is directly proportional to the rise in per-capita GDP, which means the potential for growth in this sector is astronomical,” he added.
Delegates from Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, United States and United Kingdom participated in the conference.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2011.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated that doing business in Pakistan costs 25% less than doing business in India and Bangladesh. This has now been changed to China. The error is regretted.
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